Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tale of Two Dogs


A Rosh Hashanah Message:
A small anecdote from my visit to Tel Aviv

Two dogs were resting on a beach. A shock of Israeli sun sprayed down like a force-field as they sat happily in a spot of shade, their long pink tongues spraying down drips of drool. At times a cool breeze picked up the sand and swirled it around their pointed ears. They were lying lazily on a rock that faced the shockingly bright turquoise water that was lapping quietly up ahead. All was quiet. All was good.

Then a familiar whistle made Dog One perk up. He immediately shot up and ran in circles searching for his owner, panting with excited anticipation. Dog Two sat there deciding what to do. Dog One had no patience for such time-wasting or dillydallying. He was eager to have an adventure, to find today's story.

First he rushed across the boardwalk, springing to an abrupt halt at the edge, heeding no mind to the thin shards of splinters that sometimes sprung up. When nothing turned up there, he swooped around and dove back towards the soft mound of sand he had come from. His owner came up from behind and called. "Here boys!" He slapped his thigh and waved a badly chewed magenta frisbee high up in the air. "Com'ere, Otto, Morley! Let's go play fetch. You know you wanna play fetch." he concluded in a deep, puppy-dog-growl.

Dog Two contemplated the situation. He wanted to please his owner and the water seemed fresh and inviting enough. But there were sharks out there. And slimy seaweed too. Not to mention that afterwards he would have to spend at least an hour primping and shaking out all of the flecks of sand that would inevitably get caught in every nook of fur. Maybe it was best that he just wait it out and allow the afternoon sun to lull him into a cozy sleep. He could hear from Otto how it was, and then maybe he would make a decision.

But that water did look beautiful. And that triumphant feeling of successfully plucking that plastic frisbee straight out of the thin air was incredibly intoxicating ... As Morley sat thinking, Otto sprung to attention and joyfully raced out to jump headfirst into the waves. He sprayed a whip of sand against Morley's back as he left. "Come-on, Morley!" he barked, "Last one in's a rubber chicken!"

Morley sighed. Otto was already happily paddling back and forth, bobbing up and down like a mushy black buoy on the waves. He wanted to go and have fun and please his owner too, he just had to prepare himself. He wasn't sure it was the right time of day, and he didn't know what to expect when he got there. Then there was the question of crossing the hard, burning sand. The sun was already at its peak and had had plenty of time to scorch the earth like a furnace. He also remembered the matter of getting acclimated to the water. He shook his shaggy head and laughed at himself. Here he was on one of the most pristine beaches on the globe, with a chance to play his favorite game and he was wasting it with needless worry.

So Morley hesitantly pushed himself up and clumsily made his way toward the shore, being sure to place his paws on the coolest patches of sand. Once he made it he took some time watching Otto and his owner tumble around as he waded inch by inch into the freezing water. They were having a ball: spinning around and jumping the waves. As Otto sprung his body in a graceful arch in pursuit of the frisbee, Morley finally took a deep breath and pushed his body under in one fell swoop. He instantly felt a smooth blanket of water warm his fur. Then he sprung his head back out and blinked away a sting of salt, swimming out to catch up with his family.

During this new year may we make note of Morley's careful analysis but not let us miss out on Otto's joyful celebration of life. I hope to remember to not take things too seriously and be open to the wonders that may occur when you take a chance, but at the same time make informed choices that will take those experiences to a higher level. We all need a little bit of Otto and Morley in us. Together they are the perfect combination for a year of only sweetness, accomplishment, health, knowledge, insight, and beauty. Here's to an incredible 5772!

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